Nina Vaca | Crain's

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Nina Vaca

Background:  

Pinnacle Group is a workforce solutions provider for the IT industry that is based in Dallas. Nina Vaca founded the company in 1996 and has built it into one of the fastest-growing women-owned companies in the United States. The company was ranked second in 2017 by the Women President’s Organization in partnership with American Express. It ranked first in 2015 and second in 2016. The company provides an IT workforce for Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000 companies.

 

The Mistake:

Like any good entrepreneur, I was very hands on and wore every hat when I founded Pinnacle Group in 1996. My personal performance decided the direction of the company. I tried to take on too much and did everything on my own. I didn’t delegate enough and I wouldn’t say I was much of a leader.

Like many businesses, we were hit hard by the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Businesses stopped hiring so there was little need for an IT workforce solutions firm.

We’re in the business of putting people to work and suddenly there were no jobs available.  At one point, I had two employees left and was about to go out of business.

If I’d had a stronger team and had made teamwork a bigger priority, I could have weathered this downturn better.

 I consistently credit my team for the company’s success.

The Lesson:

Now, more than 20 years after founding the company and almost 16 years after the 9/11 terror attacks, Pinnacle Group and its subsidiaries are consistently ranked among the fastest-growing women-owned companies in the country.

This lesson allowed me to understand the power of people. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Surround yourself with amazing people and be crazy good at what you actually do. Have others who can take on other tasks.

In my biography on the website I consistently credit my team for the company’s success and it’s an important part of the company’s mission statement.

 

Follow Pinnacle Group on Twitter at @PinnacleHQ
Photo courtesy of Nina Vaca.